While the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form is the student’s application, we know that parents often play a large role in this process. Finally, students who are considered dependent are required to provide parental information on the FAFSA form anyway and have a parent sign it. While we encourage the student to create their own FAFSA form, we know that this is not always the case. For this reason, we wanted to provide instructions to parents who start the FAFSA form on their child’s behalf so that they don’t run into problems filling out the form.

As a parent, when completing the FAFSA form for your child, do the following:

1. Create an account (FSA ID)

An FSA ID is a username and password that you use on Federal Student Aid websites such as fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov. If your child is considered a dependent student, two unique FSA IDs are required to complete the FAFSA form online:

  1. Parents FSA ID
  2. Student’s FSA ID

We recommend that you and your child register for FSA IDs in advance so that there are no delays later.

IMPORTANT: Your child must create their own FSA ID. You cannot create an FSA ID for your child. When you register, you will also be asked to provide an email address and mobile phone number. This is optional but is strongly recommended. These two elements must be unique for each account. In other words, your email address and mobile phone number cannot be associated with more than one FSA ID.

You and your child should now create your FSA IDs at StudentAid.gov/fsa-id/create-account/launch.

Your FSA card serves as a legal electronic signature during the entire federal study grant process. Do not share your FSA ID with anyone, not even your child. Your child shouldn’t give you their FSA ID either. Keep your FSA ID information in a safe place. You will need it to renew your FAFSA form each year and to access federal student grant information online.

2. Start the FAFSA® form at fafsa.gov

  • Go to fafsa.gov and click under “New to FAFSA.gov?” Click on “Start here”. Heading.
  • Once you are on the login page you will see two options. If you are starting the FAFSA form on your child’s behalf, select the “I am a Parent, Preparer, or Student from a Free Associated State” option on the right.

  • Enter your child’s name, social security number, and date of birth. Then click Next.
    • Select the FAFSA form you want to fill out.
      FAFSA Form 2020-21if your child is attending college between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
      2021-22 FAFSA form if your child is attending college between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
    • Both:If your child is in college in both periods and has not yet completed the FAFSA 2020-21 form, fill it out first, wait for it to be processed (one to three days), then fill out the FAFSA form 2021–22 again out of form.
    • Have you been given the opportunity to submit a FAFSA® extension?
      If your child is present, this is the option you should choose. In this case, much of the required demographic information is already filled in. Your child will need to be present as they will need to enter the student’s FSA ID to proceed. If your child is absent, you should select “Start New FAFSA”.
  • Create a storage key. A storage key is a temporary password that you and your child can use to “pass” the FAFSA form back and forth. You can also save your child’s FAFSA form for future reference. When you’ve created a storage key, share it with your child. He or she will need it to complete later steps.

– The FAFSA® form is the student’s application, not yours.
If it says “you” or “your” on the FAFSA form, it is referring to the student (unless otherwise noted).
– Avoid simultaneous registrations.
Your child should not complete their FAFSA online at the same time. Your progress may be lost if you click Save anywhere else in the application.
– If you need help:
Click the blue question mark in the corner of each question.

3. Complete the Student Demographics section

After the introductory page, enter basic demographic information about your child, such as: B. Name, Date of Birth, etc. If you chose the FAFSA renewal option in step 2, much of his personal information is pre-populated to save you time. Make sure you enter your child’s personal information exactly as it is on their social security card to avoid mistakes. (Right, no nicknames.)

4. List the schools to which your FAFSA® information should be sent

In the School selection section, add all the schools where you would like to receive your child’s information. It is important that you add every school your child is considering, even if they have not yet applied or been accepted. It doesn’t hurt to add more schools; Colleges cannot see the other schools that have been added. In fact, if your child later decides not to apply or attend, you don’t even have to remove school. If your child is not applying to a school or being accepted into a school, the school can simply ignore their FAFSA form. You can always remove schools to make room for new schools. You can add up to 10 schools at a time. If your child is applying to more than 10 schools here is what you should do.

5. Answer the questions about the dependency status

In this section you will be asked a number of specific questions to determine whether or not your child needs to provide your (parenting) information on the FAFSA form.

  • These dependency guidelines are set by Congress and are different from those used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Even if your child does not live with you, support themselves, and file taxes separately from you, they can still be considered a dependent student for federal student grants.
  • If your child is designated as a dependent student, they will need to report information about you. If your child is determined to be an independent student, you can skip the questions about providing parenting information (unless instructed otherwise by the school).

6. Complete the Parent Demographics section

This is where you provide your own demographic information. Are you divorced? Married again? The following is a guide on how to determine what parenting information to include on your child’s FAFSA form. For specific instructions, see our Parental Information Reporting page.

Infographic: Who Will Be My Parent When I Complete My FAFSA?

7. Provide your financial information

This step is incredibly easy using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The IRS DRT allows you to import your IRS tax information into the FAFSA form with just a few clicks. Using this tool can also cut down on the paperwork you need for your child’s school. So if you are eligible, use it!

To access the tool, please indicate on the parent finance page that you have already completed taxes. If you are eligible, you will see an option to link with IRS.

Next, you will likely be asked to provide your child’s financial information.

  • If your child has filed taxes, the easiest way to complete this section is to use the IRS DRT. Your child should be there because he or she must provide his or her FSA ID in order to use the tool. If your child is absent, save and exit the application and instruct your child to log in with their FSA ID, retrieve the FAFSA form using the storage key, and then fill out and sign the FAFSA form using the IRS DRT .
  • If your child has not filed taxes, you can enter their financial information manually (if you have access to the required information). If you do not have access to the information, save and exit the application and instruct your child to log in with their FSA ID, access the FAFSA form with the storage key, fill out the FAFSA form and sign it.

NOTE: If you need to save and exit your child’s FAFSA form so that they can fill out the remaining information, you will need to log in again and sign your child’s FAFSA form before your child can submit it.

8. Sign your child’s FAFSA® form

Both you and your child must sign the FAFSA form. The quickest and easiest way to sign your child’s FAFSA form is online with your FSA ID.

If your child is absent, do the following:

  1. First, sign your child’s FAFSA form with your FSA ID.
  2. Save and exit the application.
  3. Instruct your child to log in with their FSA ID and sign the FAFSA form.

Tips for signing and sending:

  • If you or your child forget your FSA ID, you can retrieve it
  • Make sure you and your child don’t mix up your FSA IDs. This is one of the most common mistakes we see and why it is extremely important for every person to create their own FSA ID and not give it to anyone else.
  • Make sure the parent using their FSA ID to sign the FAFSA form selects the correct parent number. If you don’t remember whether you were listed as Parent 1 or Parent 2, you can return to the Parent Demographics section to check.

2020-21 signature of FAFSA parents

  • If you get an error message that your FSA ID information does not match the information on the FAFSA form, here are some things to do. Note: This is often the result of student and parent confusing the FSA ID.
  • We recommend signing the FAFSA form with an FSA ID as this is the fastest way to process your child’s FAFSA form. However, if you and / or your child cannot electronically sign the FAFSA form with an FSA ID, you can email a signature page. On the Sign & Send page, select Other Sign & Send Options, and then choose Print Signature Page. Keep in mind that your child’s FAFSA form will take longer to process if you go this route.
  • If you have multiple children who need to fill out the FAFSA form, you can use the same FSA ID to sign FAFSA forms for all of your children. You can also transfer your information into your other children’s applications by selecting the option on the FAFSA confirmation page.

Congratulations, you are done!

Your child is one step closer to getting paid for college. When the hard part is over, learn what to do next for your child after you submit the FAFSA form.


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